DEI at Wayfair: A Q&A with Kamille Washington

Our vision is a Wayfair culture where every employee, present and future, is seen, valued, and invited to contribute to a thriving global community centered around the creation of home. We see this vision out through our continued commitment to infusing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) across Wayfair’s teams and geographies. Our latest Corporate Responsibility report highlights Wayfair’s DEI commitments, progress, and impact in making this vision a reality.

Read our Q&A with Kamille Washington, Global Head of DEI, to hear her thoughts on DEI at Wayfair, highlights from our report, and how DEI is critical to making a difference in our core pillars of corporate responsibility –- our Communities, our Workplace, and our Planet.

This is the first year that DEI reporting has been officially included in our Corporate Responsibility Report. How do you feel DEI contributes to our Corporate Responsibility story and commitments?

Kamille Washington, Global Head of DEI

DEI is a key ingredient in the recipe. We have a responsibility to create equitable outcomes for each and every stakeholder that we engage with. There is a direct correlation between diversity, equity, and inclusion, and our communities, workplace, and planet. Take our communities, for example: by engaging and empathizing with communities around us and viewing their unique experiences through a DEI lens, we can better understand what contributions would help advance their goals (rather than focus on the things we think are important). Our ongoing partnership with Boston While Black is one way that we’ve done this. We can’t only be myopically focused on Wayfair’s interests –– instead, we want to partner with the local Black community to understand the unique value that Wayfair can add.

The work that Shardé Marchewski –– our Head of Supplier Diversity –– is driving is another great example. By hearing the stories from traditionally underrepresented communities, bringing their brands onto the Wayfair platform, and making them strategic partners in our commercial core, we can support these supplier brands in growing for the long term.

And, of course, ensuring that Wayfair is an inclusive workplace is foundational to responsible corporate citizenship, and to meeting the challenges of a rapidly changing world. As we have said for the past three years, change starts at home. We have to make sure our own house is in order. Fostering an environment where all Wayfairians feel seen, valued, and invited to contribute is step one.

How has DEI evolved at Wayfair, and in the world, at large? 
Prior to the murder of George Floyd, corporate DEI was really about compliance: submitting records to the EEOC and ensuring that formal policies were up to legal standard.After the summer of 2020, you saw employees demanding more, wanting evidence of deeper commitments to equity and inclusion vs. simply lip service. So, in response, companies have stepped up to pause the conversations on DEI as a topic du jour, and instead have dug in to do the difficult work of driving lasting, systemic change. And Wayfair is also doing our part.

I think one of the things that has stayed consistent throughout this journey for Wayfair is the understanding that the members of a central DEI team cannot be the sole owners of this work. As the makeup of our team has ebbed and flowed over the past three years, we have remained clear that in order to embed DEI into the fabric of Wayfair, every leader, manager, and employee needs to feel a sense of shared responsibility for our DEI progress.

To drive that progress, our central DEI team provides consultative support for leaders and teams, defining best practices, offering insights, developing training, and sharing resources. As we move forward, we believe that this model will enable teams across the organization to apply an inclusive lens to their work while scaling DEI to be our global standard.

What’s next for DEI at Wayfair? 
There’s a lot to be excited about. To enable leadership ownership of DEI progress, we’re building a DEI scorecard that will equip our line leads with industry and internal benchmarking, as well as workgroups specific metrics related to DEI. We are also reinvesting in our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and Affinity Groups (AGs) –– we held our first ever ERG leadership summit in April, and are looking forward to holding another summit in the fall. We’re also in the midst of embedding more explicit expectations around inclusive and equitable behaviors into our performance process, and we’re building our bench of coaches and facilitators to support managers and leaders in delivering equitable and effective career development experiences.

Do you feel there is a finish line or end goal in this important work?  And what does it look like?
People often ask me what success looks like in this work. How will I know we “did the thing?” I typically tell them that we’ll know we’ve succeeded when we’ve worked ourselves out of a job — when diversity, equity, and inclusion are so innate to the organization that having a DEI team seems superfluous. While we are not there just yet, I am proud to share that Wayfair is becoming more inclusive every day.